The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has returned another Alpha Jet to service after maintenance and an avionics upgrade.
The NAF said the reactivated Alpha Jet (NAF 455) was commissioned on 21 March at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG) in Kainji.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said he was satisfied with the Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) that was carried out and added that the aircraft’s return to service would go a long way in boosting the morale of troops on the frontlines and better equip the NAF in its drive to sustain the offensive initiative against terrorists and insurgents.
Abubakar said the in-house PDM, apart from being cost-effective when compared to the overseas option, also affords NAF technicians the opportunity to build better technical capacity. “It is worth mentioning that our NAF technicians were the major manpower for this PDM. The avionics upgrade, which is the first of its kind on the Alpha Jet, has also significantly improved the aircraft navigation and communications systems thus increasing safety, reliability and overall efficiency”, he added.
The CAS noted that the challenge posed by lack of avionics spares, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the Alpha Jet critical spares, had also been addressed with the upgrade. The upgraded instruments and accessories, he said, were readily available in the market, thus ensuring availability of maintenance support spares which would translate to improved aircraft availability.
The CAS added that under his watch the NAF, for the first time in its history, had successfully conducted in-country PDM on two C-130H aircraft (NAFs 917 and 913) in Lagos, while Life Extension Programme (LEP) was also successfully conducted on three L-39ZA aircraft in Kano. He further highlighted that an Mi-35P was also undergoing in-country reactivation in Port Harcourt, which would further boost aircraft availability for enhanced mission accomplishment.
Abubakar also inspected an upgraded road at Kainji, which is being positioned to support the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft that the NAF is due to take delivery of.